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A Haunted Tour of Antioch, California
Located near San Francisco and Oakland, Antioch is one of the largest suburbs in that area of California. A haunted tour of Antioch must begin with the Black Diamond Mines. The Black Diamond Mines have multiple haunted spots and ghosts, several of which date back to pioneer times.
The Ghosts of the Black Diamond Mines
The ghost of Sarah Norton haunts the Rosehill Cemetery, though the ghost is also known by the name White Witch. According to legend, Norton was a midwife that helped women in the are birth babies in the days before doctors were widely used. The woman died in a grisly carriage accident, while rushing to help a pregnant woman. She now haunts the old cemetery.
The story of the White Witch is a murky one, as there are several variations to the basic story. One claims that Norton did not believe in God and requested that her children never throw her a proper burial. As she did so much to help the community, her neighbors disagreed and decided to throw one anyway. Each time the townspeople attempted a funeral, the area was plagued with tremendous storms. They still interred her at the cemetery, but without a ceremony. Legend says that she haunts Rosehill Cemetery because she never wanted to be buried.
Yet another version of the story claims that the White Witch was a nanny named Mary. After several of the kids she cared for died, the townspeople accused her of being a witch and killed her. She earned the name White Witch because some claim to see her spirit, dressed all in white, standing near the mines where she was killed.
Gates of Hell
Multiple towns across the country have tales of an area that supposedly leads to Hell itself. Many of this spots are broken or damaged and covered with graffiti and the Gates of Hell in Antioch is no exception. The Gates supposedly sit on Empire Mine Road and while some claim the city tore down the Gates, others claim it still sits there. The site does not allow trespassing and visitors can be escorted from the premises, so it might be more of a local legend than anything.
Legend claims that the Gates give way to an abandoned insane asylum. The asylum was home to a group of demented doctors and nurses that frequently experimented on patients and buried the bodies on the property. The story says that the demented former employees live on, pushing around people that dare walk onto the grounds.
Antioch’s haunted Vasco Road is the kind of place that you do not want to visit after dark. The ghosts here have a malevolent presence that makes nearly everyone who visits feel uncomfortable. The stories claim that if you are brave enough to climb out of your car, you might hear the sounds of people breathing nearby, or right over your shoulder. There are also stories told of creepy footsteps and people that see things moving off to one side.
Gravity Hill legends are a personal favorite of mine because my home state of Ohio has no less than four different towns with a Gravity Hill story. The story in Antioch claims that a group of students were on their way back after a fun filled field trip. The bus driver lost control and all the students and teachers died in the ensuing crash. The legend says that if you park your car on the exact spot of the crash, the kids will slowly push your car to safety. Scientists dispute many Gravity Hill legends, pointing to scientific reasons why your car will move.
Other Empire Mine Road Haunts
As if the Gates of Hell were not enough, Empire Mine Road in Antioch supposedly has multiple other ghosts attached to it. One is a tunnel that was once part of the railroad passing through town. When standing on one side of the tunnel, you can supposedly hear people talking at the opposite side. The tunnel is in a spooky location with No Trespassing signs hung, which might account for some of the tales.
Also on Empire Mine Road is an old, abandoned slaughterhouse that some claim has ghosts. The main ghost is that of a former manager that still walks through the slaughterhouse, as if looking were employees slacking off on their duties. Visitors to the property claim that they heard people walking through the surrounding area, the sound of chains banging together, and odd noises coming from behind the building.
St. James Presbyterian Church
The last stop on the haunted tour of Antioch is St. James Presbyterian Church. One story told about the Church involves the front doors. Those seeking solace late at night find that the doors will not open, no matter how hard they push. When they return later, the doors open easily or already stand open. Many people have heard the doors slamming shut and people walking through the Church, when it is otherwise empty.